|Allman Brothers Band|
Years: 1969 – 1976; 1978 – 1982; 1989 – present
Styles: Blues Rock, Classic Rock, Country Rock, Southern Rock
Berry Oakley - Bass Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1969 - 1972)
Jai Johanny Johanson - Congas, Drums, Percussion, Timbales (in band: 1969 - 1976; 1978 - 1980; 1986; 1989 - present)
Gregg Allman - Acoustic guitar , Clavinet, Electric piano, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocals (in band: 1969 - 1976; 1978 - 1982; 1986; 1989 - present)
Dickey Betts - Acoustic guitar , Guitar, Slide guitar, Vocals (in band: 1969 - 1976: 1978 - 1982: 1986: 1989 - 2000)
Butch Trucks - Congas, Drums, Gong , Percussion, Tambourine, Timpani, Vibes (in band: 1969- 1976; 1978 - 1982; 1986; 1989 - present)
Duane Allman - Acoustic guitar , Lead guitar, Slide guitar (in band: 1969-1971)
Chuck Leavell - Backing vocals, Clavinet, Electric piano, Moog synthesizer, Piano, Synthesizer (in band: 1972 - 1976; 1986)
Lamar Williams - Bass Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1972-1976)
David Goldflies - Bass Guitar (in band: 1978 - 1982)
Dan Toler - Guitar (in band: 1978 - 1982; 1986)
David "Frankie" Toler - Drums (in band: 1980 - 1982)
Mike Lawler - Clavinet, Electric piano, Keyboards, Piano, Synthesizer (in band: 1980-1982)
Johnny Neel - Backing vocals, Harmonica, Keyboards, Piano (in band: 1989 - 1990)
Allen Woody - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar (in band: 1989 - 1997)
Warren Haynes - Lead guitar, Slide guitar, Vocals (in band: 1989 - 1997; 2000 – presen)
Marc Quiñones - Congas, Drums, Percussion (in band: 1991 – present)
Jack Pearson - Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1997 - 1999)
Oteil Burbridge - Bass Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1997 - present)
Derek Trucks - Guitar, Slide guitar (in band: 1999 - present)
Jimmy Herring - Guitar (in band: 2000)
The story of the Allman Brothers Band is one of triumph, tragedy, redemption, dissolution, and new redemption. Over nearly 40 years, they’ve gone from being America’s single most influential band to a has-been group trading on a past glories, to reach the 1990s one of the most respected rock acts of their era. For a first half of the 1970s the Allmans Brother Band was the most influential rock group in America, redefining rock music and its boundaries.
The band’s mix of blues, country, jazz, and even classical influences, and their powerful, extended onstage jamming altered the standards of concert performance – other groups were known for their onstage jamming, but then the Allman Brothers – guitarist Duane Allman, his singer/organist brother Gregg, guitarist Dickey Betts, bassist Berry Oakley, and drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe in their most celebrated incarnation- stretched a song out for 30 or 40 minutes, at their best they were exciting, never self-indulgent.
Allman Brothers Band formed in Jacksonville, Florida by brothers Duane and Gregg. They became The Hourglass, after gigging under the Allman Joy, released two albums and a third for ‘Liberty’ before disbanding in 1968.They then returned to their to augment Butch Trucks in his outfit, 31st February, with Duane also relying on session work for ‘Atlantic’.
In 1969, all three formed The Allman Brother Band and moved to Macon, Georgia. The brothers had already signed to the ‘Atlantic’ distributed label ‘Capricorn’, run by on-time Otis Redding manager Phil Walden. With the final line-up of Duane, Gregg, Butch Trucks, Berry Oakley (bass), Dickey Betts (guitar) and a second percussionist Jaimoe Johanson, the band cut their self-titled debut in 1969, following it up year later with “Idlewild South”. All the elements that make the Allman’s legend were in place; the smooth fluidly of the guitar runs, bible belt country and gospel in abundance, jazz-influenced explorations and dyed in the wool Southern-soaked vocals.
During this time, Duane continued his session work for the likes of Laura Nyro and Delaney & Bonnie, as well as lending an unmistakable hand to Eric Clapton on Derek and the Dominoes’ “Layla” project. Like their spiritual brothers The Grateful Dead, it was in a live setting that The Allman Brothers Band could really cook up a soulful gumbo stew and “The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East” (1971) was possibly the band’s defining moment as well as one of rock’s great live albums.
Less than three months later, the band were dealt a potentially fatal blow when Duane was killed in a motorbike accident. Bloodied, but unbowed, the band released the “Eat a Peach” (1972) album, a mixture of live tracks left over from the Fillmore recordings and new studio material. Another double set, three tracks had been recorded prior to the accident, including, Duane’s fragile “Little Martha”. The indulgence of the side long Donovan adaptation, “Mountain Jam”, was balanced by pastoral beauty of tracks like Betts’ “Blue Sky”.
After Berry Oakley was killed later that year in a crash spookily reminiscent of Duane’s, Betts’ influence was even more pronounced as the band struggled bravely on with triumphant “Brothers and Sisters” (1973) album. Replacing Oakley with Lamar Williams and drafting in pianist Chuck Leavell, the rootsier sounding album give The Allman Brothers Band No. 1. Betts’ glorious country-flavoured “Ramblin’ Man” provided their biggest hit single to date and “Jessica” fuelled countless boy racer fantasies after it was used as the theme of Britain’s “Top Gear” TV show.
The Allman Brothers Band returned to touring, playing larger venues, receiving more profit and dealing with less friendship, miscommunication and spiraling drug problems. This culminated in a backstage brawl when the band played with the Grateful Dead at Washington's RFK Stadium in June 1973, which resulted in the firing of three of the band's longtimeroadies. The band played arenas and stadiums almost solely as their drug use escalated. In 1974, the band were regularly making $100,000 per show. Both Allman and Betts released top 20 solo albums in 1974 ("The Gregg Allman Tour" and "Highway Call"). The sessions that produced 1975's "Win, Lose or Draw", the last album by the original Allman Brothers Band, were disjointed and inconsistent; Gregg Allman was largely living in Los Angeles and dating pop star Cher, and was, according to biographer Alan Paul, "[becoming] more famous for being famous than for his music."
Allman and Walden first approached the idea of a reunion to Betts in 1978. Their first public appearance together came at a Great Southern show in New York's Central Park that summer, when Allman, Trucks and Jaimoe joined the band for a few songs. Williams and Leavall declined to leave Sea Level, so the Allman Brothers Band hired two new members: guitarist Dan Toler and bassist David Goldflies. The band reunited with Tom Dowd at Criteria Studios in Miami to cut their reunion album, which saw release in February 1979 as "Enlightened Rogues",
Their first Arista effort, "Reach for the Sky" (1980), was produced by Nashville songwriters Mike Lawler and Johnny Cobb. Drugs remained a problem with the band, particularly among Betts and Allman. Although the album was made with the intention of creating a hit single, the genre of southern rock was waning considerably in the mainstream. The band again grew apart, firing longtime roadie "Red Dog" and replacing Jaimoe with Toler's brother Frankie, who had been a member of Great Southern.
For their second and final album with Arista, "Brothers of the Road", they collaborated with a "name producer" (John Ryan, of Styx and the Doobie Brothers), who pushed the band even harder to change their sound. "Straight from the Heart" was the album's single, which became a minor hit but heralded the group's last appearance on the top 40 charts. The band, considering their post-reunion albums "embarrassing," subsequently broke-up in 1982 after clashing with Clive Davis, who rejected every producer the band suggested for a possible third album, including Tom Dowd and Johnny Sandlin.
The Allman Brothers Band celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 1989, and the band reunited for a summer tour, with Jaimoe once again on drums. In addition, they featured guitarist Warren Haynes and pianist Johnny Neel, both from the Dickey Betts Band, and bassist Allen Woody, who was hired after open auditions held at Trucks's Florida studio. The band returned to the studio with longtime producer Tom Dowd for 1990's "Seven Turns", which was considered a return to form. "Good Clean Fun" and "Seven Turns" each became big hits on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The addition of Haynes and Woody had "reenergized" the ensemble. Neel left the group in 1990, and the band added percussionist Marc Quiñones, formerly of Spyro Gyra, the following year.
Despite the growing tension, Haynes remained a member and Betts returned. Their third post-reunion record, "Where It All Begins" (1994), was recorded entirely live. There was no indication that it was capable of staying together for years to come. Haynes and Woody left to focus on Gov't Mule, feeling as though a break was imminent with the Allman Brothers Band.
The group recruited Oteil Burbridge of the Aquarium Rescue Unit to replace Woody on bass, and Jack Pearson on guitar. Concerns arose over the increasing loudness of Allman Brothers shows, which were largely centered on Betts. Pearson, struggling with tinnitus, left as a result following the 1999 Beacon run. Derek Trucks, joined the band for their thirtieth anniversary tour. Trucks was very young, at age 20, and younger than any of the original members when the band formed.
Jimmy Herring joined the band for the summer tour, where the band fought negative press; fans contended that attending shows by an Allman Brothers Band without Betts was pointless. Herring exited shortly after the tour, as he felt guilty that he would replace Betts. That August, former bassist Allen Woody was found dead in a hotel room in New York. Warren Haynes set up a benefit show for his former bandmate, which featured the Allman Brothers Band. With Derek Trucks unavailable, he sat in for the set. 
The band released their final studio recording, "Hittin' the Note" (2003), to critical acclaim. The record was the first to feature Derek Trucks and the only Allman Brothers album to not feature Betts. The band continued to tour throughout the 2000s, remaining a top touring act, regularly attracting more than 20,000 fans. The decade closed with a successful run at the Beacon Theater, in celebration of the band's fortieth anniversary.
Allman had a liver transplant in 2010, and suffered health setbacks for the following two years. He went to rehab in 2012 for addiction following his medical treatments. He returned with the band for their 2013 run at the Beacon "in unbelievable shape," and the band continued to tour. In 2014, Haynes and Derek Trucks announced their intention to depart the group at the end of the year; following this, Allman has said the group will retire.
1. All Music Guide to Rock. The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul. 3rd Edition 2002. Edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Published by Backbeat Books, page 16 - Bruce Eder
2. The Great Rock Discography - Martin C.Strong, Four Edition, by Canongate Publishing, Ltd. Edinburgh, p. 12
3. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Allman_Brothers_Band
© Boar 2011 - 2017